The Nonteenpregnancy Nonpact

By 2008, the pregnant upscale white teen was drawing all the rage. Time reporter Kathleen Kingsbury got wind of a rumor and copped an international news story alleging a spike in teenage pregnancy in Gloucester, Massachusetts, blamed on a pact among 17 high school girls to raise their babies together.36 All of the facts surrounding this mythical pact later turned out to be hallucinated. *Wasilla High School, which Bristol and Levi attended, provided a family life human sexuality program...

The Calamity Of Consensus

President Barack Obama's call to use the things we can agree on to reconcile hot-button topics like teen pregnancy is the worst idea imaginable. He of all people ought to understand this. If Americans of the past had successfully pursued the consensus that all teen pregnancy must be prevented, he would not be here. Obama's first book, Dreams from My Father,1 is a remarkable compendium of idealism, even radical thought. It is especially startling on the topic of teenage mothers. Begin with his...

Introduction

The Dos Rombos-La Comunidad Web site, http www.forosexualidad.com and (accessed 2009). 2. Motion picture rating system, Wikipedia, http en.wikipedia.org wiki Motion _picture_rating_system (accessed 2009). 3. See, for examples, M. G. Durham, The Lolita Effect The Media Sexualization ofYoung Girls and What We Can Do About It (Overlook Press, 2008) D. E. Levin and J. Kilbourne, So Sexy So Soon The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids (Ballantine Books, 2008) B....

1915 All Over Again

At least seven U.S. presidents had sex with teenagers. James Monroe, Martin Van Buren, Andrew Johnson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Jimmy Carter impregnated their adolescent wives. Thomas Jefferson and John Kennedy had mid-life extra-marital affairs with teens aged 14 and 15, respectively. Those are just the ones we know about. Five U.S. First Ladies, from Elizabeth Monroe to Rosalynn Carter, were pregnant teenagers. The mother of the current president, Barack Obama, was an unwed, pregnant 17...

Sexting

The furor over sexting is more disturbing still, since it represents efforts by adults in official capacity to inflict harm on young people for largely harmless behaviors backdropped by a heavy-media breathing. On CNN's tabloid show, Headline News, at the moment (October 26, 2009), the banner line trumpets, Are Parents in Denial about Sexting as some official-type is raising the umpteenth alarm of this new behavior by children. National Public Radio broadcast five stories on sexting in 20 09.37...

Parent Teacher Priest The Real Predators

How do we compare the small dangers of the Internet with those of traditional institutions in society to which teenagers and children are exposed by the tens of millions every day For example, the CACRC's reports for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services find over 200,000 substantiated cases of violent, sexual, and multiple-abuse victimizations toward youths (including around 80,000 toward teens age 12 to 17) every year, overwhelmingly inflicted by their parents.28 While the CACRC...

Online Predators Invading Your Childs Bedroom

The Internet and cell phones and texting and sexting and Twittering and blogging this is very, very dangerous, a Phoenix police detective declared in a national news story posted by the Associated Press (June 30, 2009).21 He was referring to the case of a man who posted a video online of his sexual assault on an unconscious woman. Really Blogging is dangerous The notion that Internet and cell phone technology in fact, all forms of these new media somehow is to blame for a violent criminal's...

Is There An Epidemic Of Teen Dating Violence

Hooking up may be a chimera of modern culture war's Make It Up ethic, but there is no question that violence between romantic partners spouses, housemates, daters, teen and adult alike is a critical issue. California alone documents some 200,000 reports of domestic violence to law enforcement every year, and few doubt the crime is severely underreported.11 That is why the most compelling, valid science must be applied to delineating the scope of the problem to design effective countermeasures....

Hooking Up

The notion that random, impersonal sex now dominates high school and college relationships offers fodder for moralists, whether corporate commod-ification of youth or moral breakdown fostered by liberal permissiveness are blamed. A rash of books, Unhooked How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both (2007) by Laura Sessions Stepp Hooking Up, Hanging Out, and Hoping for Mr. Right College Women on Dating and Mating Today (2001) by the Institute for American Values and Hooking Up Sex,...

The Violent New Girl

Others say girls are worse today because teenagers are just innately bad people seduced by worsening modern influences. Barbara Kantrowitz of Newsweek, who has gotten away with years ofbaseless youth-bashing, opines But even the authors say Girl World in 2002 isn't all that different from the same planet in 1972, when today's mothers were buying their first training bras. For both girls and boys, early adolescence is a bubbling cauldron of hormone-laden emotion that can explode, at any moment,...

The New Sexualized Childhood

Education professor Diane Levin and media critic Jean Kilbourne (2008),28 like Durham, also declare that offensive cultural and media symbols must be driving kids today to pathological sexual behavior. Like Durham, they never bother to show kids actually are acting that way. Sexualized childhood is new, they insist, the fallout from the popular media's frightening new culturescape Young people today spend an average of nearly six and a half hours a day using media. Media violence has not only...

Chapter Nine Panics Du Jour

We have lost all those battles, James Dobson, resigning as director ofFocus on the Family, assessed conservatives' scorecard in the culture war.1 Dobson is right the Right lost. Americans eagerly consume a much sexier, wide-open public culture than conservatives, traditionalists, and even many liberals want. I suspect the reason is more humbling than prurient sex is just so damn funny. Endless sex jokes seem to write themselves. Lots of Americans, though, are not chuckling. Following Dobson's...

Bad Consensus They Are Not Like Us

Instead, the easy consensus among interest groups across the spectrum indulges the myth that teenagers (especially modern ones) are very different, in bad ways, from adults. After absorbing what seems like several tons of literature on teenage sex and teen pregnancy (I now understand puritan Anthony Comstock's urge to burn), the basic consensus I perceive is this adults love to call teenagers stupid. It is good politics, good media. It makes us glow. Here's today's teen pregnancy discourse,...

Why Debunking Lies About Girls Is Important

Today's epidemic of made-up myths about teenage sex and pregnancy are wrapped up in the manufactured image of the New Girl. For those authors touting their scholarly and professional credentials which is nearly all of them the persistent refusal to engage realities that dispute their emotional theses reflects a disturbing anxiety that turns up again and again in girl-fearing commentary. Behind authors' and commentators' irrational attacks on girls lies their deep discomfort with worldly,...

Discovering Old Epidemics

Then, abruptly, the Baby Bust arrived. The teenage birth rate plummeted by 40 percent, from 98 per 1,000 females age 15 to 19 in 1957 to 58 per 1,000 in 1975. Similar plunges in young-age parenthood globally accompanied liberalized contraception (especially the marketing of the Pill in 1961), abortion (legalized in various states in the mid-1960s and nationally by Supreme Court's Roe v Wade decision in 1973), and, most importantly, growing educational and career opportunities for women. One...

Is The Problem Just Black Teen Culture

Because the vast majority of popular books and media commentaries on youth today deplore affluent white teens (the ones who directly bother affluent, white commentators) does not mean similarly distorted demonizations ofblack youth should be ignored. As seen in numerous tables throughout this book, African Americans of all ages have much higher levels of unplanned pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, violent death, crime, violence, and imprisonment than do...

Chapter Four Marie Antoinette Would Have Loved The National Campaign

Trussell, Teenage Pregnancy in the United States, Family Planning Perspectives, 20 (1988), 262-271. 2. K. Luker, Dubious Conceptions The Politics of Teenage Pregnancy (Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press, 1996), 192. 3. Many of these points are summarized in Luker (1996), op. cit. 4. A. R. Stiffman, J. Powell, F. Earls, and L. N. Robins, Pregnancies, Childbearing, and Mental Health Problems in Adolescents, Youth & Society, 21(1990)., 483-495. 5. M. Bayatpour, R. D. Wells, and S....

Sluts Vixens And Fatales

Peter the Hermit berated the young people of today in 1247 A.D., but he really meant girls, who are forward, immodest and unwomanly in speech, behavior and dress. Not much new has been said in the last eight centuries, other than updating epithets. During World War II, for example, major magazines like Life, Reader's Digest, and Ladies Home Journal blazed with new alarms that hundreds of teenage pickups as young as 12 were making the sex delinquency of young...

Cosmetic Lies About Girls

Even if America's New Girl is healthier, saner, safer, happier, and dramatically more accomplished by nearly every major index, do subtler psychological trends show she's sicker today Let us get to the sexuality-centered issue of modern worries about girls' attitudes body image. In Courtney Martin's unhappy world, crushing anxiety about inadequate bodies is what the large majority of girls and young women 11 wake up in the morning to walk around all day resisting go to bed sad and hopeless...

Teen Pregnancy Is Strictly An Economic Phenomenon

Marin County, California, has been regaled and ridiculed as the font of all things affluent, permissive, and New Age. Unburdened Cyra McFadden's 1977 satire, The Serial, on the vexations of parents in the redwooded paradise across the Golden Gate from San Francisco What had got into Marin adolescents Didn't they all feed them, listen to them, enroll them in the Mogul Ski Club Straighten their teeth Buy them stereos, wet suits and sailing lessons Stay out of their sex lives and look the other...

The Kindergarten Crossdressing Agenda

Gay young people are at the nexus of the culture war. The Center for Disease Control CDC 's 2009 survey found 4 percent of males and 8 percent of females age 15 to 17, and 5 percent of males and 14 percent of females age 18 to 19, reporting they had some kind of sexual experience with same-sex partners. What it was hand-holding golden shower was not specified. Among girls under age 18, both the prevalence and the proportion of sexual experiences consisting of same-sex contact appears two to...

Economic Malpractice

Beyond the notion of redlining certain infants, more conceptual atrocities loom in how we choose to define social costs when calculating the potential worth of a class of babies. In a climate of prejudice created by political pressures to produce compliant cost-benefit calculations, social costs will not be fairly calculated. The crude biases dominating social-cost studies of teen motherhood involve selecting measures that emphasize only those costs attributable to the targeted group while...

Teenage Sex Is Just Like Adult

Even more than the economic and adult-teen aspects of teen sex and pregnancy, the uncanny parallels between teen and adult sexual outcomes are the most ignored factor of all. In fact, teenage sex is a closely controlled behavior, reflecting the sexual behaviors of adults around them. Where and when adults have high rates of pregnancy, abortion, birth, unwed birth, STD, and HIV AIDS, so do teenagers. The chief complication is that high rates of poverty shift a population's sexual outcomes to...

Modern Myths Unsexy Realities

Sex, Love, and Psychology Series Judy Kuriansky, Series Editor Santa Barbara, California Denver, Colorado Oxford, England All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data...

The Fifties The Teen Pregnancy Decade

Teenage pregnancy and motherhood peaked in the 1950s amid the postwar Baby Boom, when nearly 1 in 10 girls age 15 to 19 gave birth every year and nearly half of all new brides in the country were under age 20. That four-fifths of these were legitimized by often-short-lived marriages did not cover up the high rates of high schoolers' sex. Notions that the past was more moral what one sociologist historian called the myth of an abstinent past were belied by cold statistics of the time, which were...

The Sanctification Of Im Offended

In a few months, the celebrity names and teen-panics-du-jour will change in America's bizarro politician, institution, church, and media-figure sexca-pades. As celebrity basher Chelsea Handler declared after a particularly scandal-laden week in which more big icons bungeed off the infidelity cliff, The hits just keep on coming. Still, even toughened up by America's certifiable craziness about sex or maybe jealous that I am apparently having less fun than evangelicals exhibiting hot new versions...

Three Reasons Why Teen Pregnancy Does Not Exist

Here is teen pregnancy, the short take. Teen birth, unwed birth, abortion, total pregnancy, and sexually transmitted disease STD rates closely parallel those of adults of their community, class, and era.1 In fact, 6 in 10 men who impregnate teenagers are adults.2 The younger the pregnant teen, the bigger the partner age gap and the more likely she was to have suffered family chaos, including sexual abuse and other violence.3 In 2005, among females under age 20, 60 percent of all live births, 64...

Refighting Yesterdays

By the 2000s, the standard 90-second volleying between dueling teen-sex foes in the news media had become a hollaback drill Sex education SENDS TEENS DOUBLE MESSAGES . Give me abstinence-only DENIES TEENS LIFESAVING FACTS . For all the sound and fury lamenting teens having sex and or babies, these issues get raised the way jousters raise lances. On the progressive shows and blogs such as RachelMaddow, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Huffington Post, and Salon, teen pregnancy's main utility...